Yesterday I finished my last ever university exam.
I have never been so relieved for something to end.
For many people university is the best time of their lives, a chance to create a new identity, become more confident, make new friends. My experience was different. University exacerbated my mental health problems and I feel like I am leaving this place half the woman I was before I arrived.
Obviously there have been some good points to it all, I achieved some independence, made some good friends, lived in my own house, but I can’t ever begin to say that these positives outweigh the negatives. How many times have I sat in this bed and cried myself to sleep, begging for this to all be over.
I’m not, of course, saying that university is like this for everyone with depression. I’m sure it’s the exact opposite for many people. Personally, I have never experience anything so difficult in my entire life. I have felt so isolated, worthless, not good enough, I have dreaded going to seminars, dreaded waking up in the morning, dreaded pasting that smile on my face before I open my bedroom door. It’s been hard being so far away from my family who are so incredibly supportive and understanding of my problems and whilst they are only ever a phone call away, they feel further than that when I can’t hug them.
If I could do it all again, I’m sure I wouldn’t. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to say, you’re supposed to reflect on hard experiences and look at how they made you stronger, made you who you are and whilst that is true to some extent, I would never repeat this experience, the pain I have felt in just existing over these past three years has been torturous.
So now, what next? I have no idea. For someone who feels like life is pointless, nothing feels more pointless than when you have finished all your exams and you have no responsibilities- ironically, all I have been craving for the past couple of months. I don’t have a job or a plan lined up. I am hopeful but not unrealistically hopeful that the future will be brighter. I am, however, under no illusions that leaving university will cure any of my conditions, but for the first time in a very long time I at least have hope and that’s enough for now.